The second 737-800 to be converted into cargo configuration by Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Aviation Group (28619, ex-Pegasus) has been completed and took its first test flight on Nov. 4. The flight took place to the northwest of Tel Aviv (TLV) and lasted just under four hours.
Meanwhile, the first 737-800BDSF (30498, ex-Transaero Airlines) has remained on the ground at TLV since a six-hour test flight on Sept. 9, 2019. IAI previously told Cargo Facts that it was expecting to receive the supplemental type certificate (STC) for the 737-800BDSF by the end of August 2019. Recently, at this year’s Cargo Facts Symposium, IAI confirmed that it was still waiting for the program to be certified.
While we would expect IAI to obtain the STC for its 737-800BDSF sooner rather than later, the question as to which carrier will become the launch operator remains a mystery for now. Units 30498 and 28619 are both destined for Spectre Air Capital, but it is unclear whether they will still be leased to Seoul-based Air Incheon. The cargo carrier had previously been expected by Spectre to take the first three 737-800BDSFs, but downsized its fleet to a single 737-400SF this August.
Spectre is the launch customer of IAI’s 737 NG conversions, having placed an order in October 2017 for fifteen 737-700BDSFs and 737-800BDSFs with options for fifteen more.